Fight Back: Wear the Same Things Frequently

Why it is important to wear the same outfits over and over

So last week we chatted about saving the world be doing less laundry. THIS week let’s examine another facet of the same subject: Wearing the same clothes over and over again.

I believe I linked to this article when it first came out. It points out that some women have adopted a “wear it once” mindset because they fear being seen in the same outfits multiple times on social media. They are either donating or actually throwing away clothing that has only been worn on a couple of occasions, especially if that clothing has been photographed and tagged. I cannot overstate how disturbed I am by this revelation. Especially since fashion bloggers posting entirely new outfits on the daily – often showcasing items they’ve been paid to wear and therefore don’t own and will never wear again – are undoubtedly contributing to this problem. Big time.

I no longer photograph my own outfits every day because I have neither the time nor inclination to do so, which means that, in some ways, my outfit posts no longer reflect what I’m wearing most frequently. I try to repeat pieces in outfit posts, too, but I have a much smaller wardrobe now than I did during the daily-outfit-post days, and wear many of my wardrobe staples several times each week. I’m pretty sure I wore my Lysse leggings at least twice per week for three weeks running when I first got them, and I was actually quite proud. I posted five outfits last summer featuring my DV Yazmina booties, and wore them at least three times that often in real life. As someone who once felt overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff she owned and is actively working toward living with less, I’m always quite happy when I find myself wearing the same things over and over again since it means I’ve spent my money wisely and am getting the most out of my purchases.

So if you worry about wearing the same clothes all the time, here are three important things to remember:

  1. Most people are too busy thinking about themselves to notice the minutiae of your appearance. In other words, very few people are going to notice your repetition.
  2. The ones who do notice have too much time on their hands. And should mind their own business.
  3. Wearing the same clothes all the time is better for your wallet and for the environment. Repeating outfits is good. It may be small and it may feel passive, but it’s still good.

When you wear the same things frequently you reduce cost-per-wear, you create a consistent personal style, you show other people that they don’t need to buy a new blouse every single week in order to look stylish. When you wear the same things frequently you challenge yourself to remix your wardrobe items, you find out which brands really hold up over time, you push back against our culture of wasteful clothing consumption. NEVER feel ashamed of wearing your clothes often or repeating outfits. Because when you do, you’re setting a good example for anyone who might otherwise consider chucking a dress that’s shown up on Facebook more than once. And that is valuable and important and worthwhile.

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for alreadypretty.com. See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details. Sustainable options are either used, handmade, made in the U.S., artisan made in non-sweatshop conditions, or made using sustainable/fair trade practices.

Originally posted 2016-06-13 06:14:53.

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15 Responses to “Fight Back: Wear the Same Things Frequently”

  1. Monica H

    I like it Sally. 🙂 I know that speaking for myself, I definitely don’t notice when other people wear the same things frequently. Although our standards for men and women are different, a while back I noticed that a well-dressed French man in my office wore the same shirt two days in a row. A few days later I noticed it again, and wondered how often he did this. Turns out, he ALWAYS wears the same shirt twice in a row and I’d been working with him for years before I even noticed! Soo, apparently it’s not a big deal, ha!

    Although you wrote that rewearing the same items encourages you to find new ways to mix outfits, I find that I appreciate the opposite advantage of having tried and true outfits to fall back on. Personally if I had to create new combinations daily, I might never leave the house. I love to mix it up on occasion, but most of my he time when I’m getting ready for work, it’s nice to already have something that works figured out.

  2. livi

    I spent a semester in Spain in college, and I noticed that people there often wore the same items of clothing multiple times a week.

    I’ll frequently wear pants a a couple of times, and sometimes a shirt during a week. Definitely during a month I repeat the same outfits often. Almost like having a few uniforms to choose from.

    • Rebekah Jaunty

      I’m living in Germany, and noticed that all three of my German teachers wore the same outfits multiple times per week. Makes sense!

  3. Madame_K

    Wow. I thought only extremely rich and/or shallow people threw clothing away after one wear. One of the ways that fashion blogs have enriched my life is in showing me new and creative ways to combine and enhance the things I already wear repeatedly. Once I hit on a particularly good (re)combination, though, I have no problem sporting it until the components wear out or the look goes well out of style or it no longer fits my body or my life.

  4. Jenn Wisbeck

    I’ve loosely tracked what I wear to give myself an idea of what items I wear most often/what offers the best dollar value. For me that is jeans and loafers that are business casual (makes sense since they are items that are easy to rewear multiple times a week), followed by Vneck Tshirts. I have occasional misses- pants that turn out to not be as comfy or are too stretchy, etc. But overall I know that if I am buying new jeans I will likely get a lot of wear from them compared to the cost, but semi casual shirts I can get cheaply since they are easier to find in my size.

  5. agreed

    For the past school year (I’m a teacher), I’ve been doing an experiment with this very topic. I bought myself the most minimal of work wardrobes: two pairs of black pants, five white t-shirts (all the same), one white blouse (oxford style), ten white tanktops, a nude bra, a black blazer, a black cardigan, a pair of dressy flat black shoes, and a pair of black boots. What if, I thought, I could go the whole school year wearing the same “uniform?” No accessories, no casual days, nothing.

    It was the worst thing ever. For about three days. After that, this functional and simple wardrobe has been easy to maintain, has saved me a bunch of money, gives me time in the morning, and allows me to feel much more authentic. Instead of trying to create a look or a persona with my clothes, I allow *myself* to be the persona, if that makes sense.

    We’re nearing the end of the school year and I’ve been asking students if they’ve noticed. One student has, but the other 60 I’ve polled had no idea. Staff members have been equally ignorant. Most people are concerned with way more important things than what I’m wearing.

    This has been a very liberating experience. When I do it next year, I will likely find a different colour to wear on top. While white is very easy to find, it’s not so easy to keep clean when you’re always drinking coffee and always eating lunch on the go!

    • Kelly

      I did something similar at the start of my teaching year too. I went through my closet and attempted to make a capsule wardrobe of a “uniform” I feel good in consisting of around five skinny pants, several loose fitting tank tops/shirts, and five cardigans/blazers that I could mix and match somewhat. When I started organizing I felt like I had nothing to wear and that I’d have to spend a bunch of money to have a good wardrobe. By the end of the organization process, I realized I only needed to buy about three pieces. I figured I would wear this wardrobe for the first three months of school and then go through it again and add more pieces.

      Happily, I ended up not buying ANY more clothes until the last couple months of school when I added some more tank tops because I was getting tired of the ones I’d been wearing all year.

      This really worked for me because I got dressed easily in the morning, always felt like I had something to wear (usually), reduced the amount of laundry I did, and felt good in what I was wearing almost always.

      Plus, it’s true-no one’s looking at you.
      And, it’s one small way for me to fight against the culture of consumerism.

    • Allison

      I LOVE this! I also teach and have always said I’d love a uniform! I do have that to some degree. But I admire your efforts here!

  6. Julia @ When the Girls Rule

    Ha ha! As a blogger for women who have apple shapes and big busts I’m forced to wear items over and over again because it is hard to find items made for my body shape that also look flattering. I’ve been frustrated by the lack of choices but now i’m seeing it as a way to save money and the planet! It’s all about perspective isn’t it? Thanks for pointing it out!

    Julia
    http://www.whenthegirlsrule.com

  7. No Fear of Fashion

    I totally agree with you. Cannot find anything wrong with it. Yet I feel guilty of buying too much. I don’t throw it away, I don’t mind showing it on my blog several times, I don’t feel ashamed or whatever when I wear something over and over again. But I do buy too much. So I am at this stage where I feel overwhelmed with too much stuff. It doesn’t fit in the closets anymore and that is not sustainable. With the amount of clothes that I already have I should be able to make thousands (OK hundreds) of combinations. I am just too lazy. I love to shop and that is easier than coming up with new combinations of old clothes. Although I do feel very proud of myself if I do manage that.
    Money is not the problem with me, but it is rather idiotic to live like this. You might just have pushed me a bit in the right direction. Thank you.
    Greetje

  8. Allison

    I could not live this post more, sweet Sal! I’m still very much in the middle of paring down all that I have. But where do you draw the line between what to keep (gold heels for a fancy wedding occasion that I might wear once a year) and what to let go of? I don’t mind letting things go – as long as there’s no chance I’d have to buy them again. I’m happy to have a smaller closet. Really assessing what I wear and what I need has totally shown me how little I can get by with! Thank you!!

  9. crtfly

    Sal,

    Wonderful post! Yours is a message that needs to be heard. Usually this type of message is seen on an environmental action type blog where it is preaching to the choir.

    Since yours is a fashion/style type blog the message is getting out to people who may not have heard it before – and need to. Thank you for your courage.

    Chris

  10. Fashion Is Spinach

    This topic couldn’t be more relevant for me right now. I’m dissatisfied with my style and trying to figure out what to do next, and summer is always the worst season for me as far as clothes shopping goes. Right now I have four pairs of cotton-twill cropped pants (I’m short enough that they hit my ankles), two in black and two in navy, and an assortment of cotton T-shirts, mostly black or navy but a few in jewel tones. Almost all of this came from L.L. Bean. I’ve wanted a uniform for a long time, and having limited possibilities is making my life easier, but I would love a cotton dress or two for really hot days.